Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Epilogue
Rude sat staring at the cheque. He had been sitting there for several hours, holding it in both hands. A beer that Reno had given him sat unopened before him.
Reno had left almost immediately after handing Rude his pay. Turks were paid regularly so that they stayed loyal to Shinra, but a bonus was given for every successful mission. Rude had just received his first bonus.
The cheque was late coming, something which Rude found strange. Shinra had enough money to pay him right away. He had been expecting the money for several months, ever since he had completed his so-called "initiation assignment" but the finality of the cheque stunned him nonetheless.
Taking Reno's advice, Rude had originally put it behind him, but that was a difficult thing to do when it was staring you in the face. He had killed her for this, a lousy piece of paper with numbers and a signature. 2000 gil. It hardly seemed worth it.
He tried to tell himself no, that it had been for more than that. But more what? Cheques? A blue suit? That still didn't justify what he had done.
He hoped Reno was right when he had said it was only because he knew her. He fully planned to take his colleague's advice next time. "Don't get to know someone you plan to kill," he had said.
As he sat there, almost motionless, holding the cheque out in front of him, memories of the kill resurfaced.
It was the look she gave him. That look of utter betrayal as she collapsed to the ground. It seemed to take forever, but her eyes finally closed and he knew she was gone.
It still wasn't worth it, despite the fact that he had called her friend at the Weapon Shop to tell him so that she could have a proper burial, it didn't make up for killing her in the first place. Nothing could ever make up for it.
Reno said it got easier. He hoped it did.
Tearing the cheque up into tiny pieces, he threw them behind him in the general direction of the garbage can. He knew none of the pieces went in, but honestly didn't care.
Standing, Rude took the beer from where it sat on the table and walked into his room, closing the door behind him.
The pavement on which she ran was cracked and full of potholes. Old streetlights, long dead, bordered each side of the road, looming over like dead flowers. The highway led to the very outskirts of the city; out to a gate that, like the road itself, hadn't been used for years. It had been locked since before she had even arrived in Midgar. There were hardly any exits accessible through the slums these days.
She stumbled, temporarily breaking the steady pace at which she ran. She hadn't quite figured out exactly what it was she was running from, and she wasn't sure she wanted to. Yet as she ran, alone on the deserted highway, she couldn't stop the thoughts from entering her head. Maybe it's Shinra, she thought, as she turned the final bend. Maybe Midgar, or maybe I'm running from what happened. She stopped, the road having ended on the outskirts of Sector Seven.
She put her hands on her knees and bent over, trying to catch her breath. She stayed like that until she could no longer feel her heart pounding in her chest. Looking up at the huge gate that stood unyielding before her, another possibility came to mind. Maybe it's something completely different.
It had been several months since she had once again dodged death. But life went on, as life always does. AVALANCHE was gaining popularity; the slums finally seemed to be warming up to the idea of banding together.
They had a base now too. Barret had officially bought the bar, but after realizing that he didn't know the first thing about running one, had handed it over to Tifa on the condition that it be used as AVALANCHE's base.
At Marlene's suggestion, she had renamed it Tifa's Seventh Heaven. It was still the same bar, with the exception that the upstairs now housed those known locally as "The Creators of AVALANCHE". Barret swore the bar would go down in history. Tifa preferred that it not.
Jess had created an elevator out of a broken pinball game and a large hole in the floor. Any official AVALANCHE business was taken downstairs. The group's future at least, was looking bright.
Looking up at the gate, Tifa realized she had always known why she ran. During her time in Midgar she had built a wall up around her; a shield of cheerfulness and optimism. But the foundation of that wall had cracks, and she knew that it could not support itself. There would be times when the new cheery and lively Tifa would disappear and the old Tifa, one who was frightened and alone, would surface.
She couldn't let them see her. They couldn't know that despite her happy exterior, she was just another lost soul, blending in amongst the millions trying to find their way in the slums. No, they couldn't see how weak she was.
She was weak on the road, and the time spent as herself when she ran was enough to strengthen the foundations of her wall for another day. She didn't run from Shinra, or Midgar or her past, she ran so that she could be herself.
But that's okay, she thought, standing up straight, at least the road knows who I am. Casting a final glance at the ever-unyielding gate that served as the doors of her prison, she turned and walked away.
Didja think I killed her? Didja didja didja? My dad really wanted me to kill her off, and really, the author me would have, even though the reader me would have strongly protested. In the end though, I decided that if I killed her off, the game wouldn't exist, and that was a bad thing.
I wanted to bring out the cat relation more, but couldn't fit it in. My basic reasoning was that there were many times shown in the game that Tifa really should have died. But she didn't, and you know, cats have nine lives and all. Yeah, nevermind.
Rude sucks. I've never liked him. I find Reno much more attractive, and a much cooler character. I never wanted Rude in my story, but when I decided to bring the Turks in, I remembered that Rude had said in Gonganga that he liked Tifa best. So I kind of got stuck with him.
The only change I really made was that Marlene is six in the story. I think she's that age in the game, which made ABSOLUTELY no sense to me. Besides, she couldn't do what I wanted her to if she was a toddler.
This is a very depressing story. Rude thinks there's no reason for his existance, and Tifa thinks there's no reason for her's. The interesting part is they perceive eachother completely differently than they perceive themselves.
If you didn't like to story, blame it on my dad. It was supposed to end after chapter one, and just be a nice little short story. But noooooo, dad had to know what happened next. He's never even played the game! Well, this is it. Don't you love end of story author's notes? I do. They're fun. I've been looking forward to writing this for a couple days now. Pathetic neh? Please tell me what you think of it all, I'd really appreciate it.
Started: February 4th, 2001
Finished: January 10th, 2002
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